Got a lift up to Barcaldine with Trevor Shaw and Herbie McLean and their partners for this new route organised by Tom Smith to replace Beinn Lora. The weather was absolutely superb with bright sunshine hitting the tops of the snow-covered hills as we drove through Tyndrum and past Cruachan although some concerns about how icy it might be underfoot. Entry to the race was for the princely sum of 50p and there were 5 Westies in the starting lineup, Manny, Brenda, Jo McGuire, George Douglas and myself …..particularly well done to George coming up from Helensburgh for the race. Twenty minutes before the start I thought we’d be lucky to get 20+ runners but by the off there must have been close on 50 runners. Manny had won the previous two Lochaber Winter league races and he was the favourite here with Tom Smith giving instructions that the route was well marked and if anybody was in any doubt just to follow Mr Gorman…..no pressure eh? Race started and we were off and I managed not to head off too quickly and knacker myself within the first two minutes. narrow path at start then the first half of the run up to a wee dam was a mixture of forest track then steep narrow muddy path through woods then back to track then to muddy path etc, great route and I was holding my position. Just before the dam saw George 30 yards behind me so put on a wee push. The route was through pine forests on winding paths so after the first few minutes you were lucky if you could see more than one person ahead or behind at any time. At the top, or what I thought was the top you were back on forest track and we headed downhill, then contoured, then …..woah ! woah!…..uphill, what’s going on here …..ah downhill yah dancer, a flat bit, uphill …..again! etc etc but keep going son, can’t be too far now. Out of the corner of my eye I’d seen yellow a couple of times and thought it must be George catching me a bit but at a sharp turn in the track I saw it was Davie Duncan 40 yards or so behind. Aaaaaaagh ….rack up the pace luckily at a steeper part of the downhill …..if I’d known there was well over a mile to go at that point I suspect I’d have cracked but ignorance in this case was bliss. Kept ahead of Davie …..lost a bit on the wee uphills, got it back on the downhills and I knew if I could just get to the bridge over the burn 200 yards from the finish ahead of him then it was in the bag ……took a long time to get to that sodding bridge but at last got there and finished ahead of DD …..elated and knackered to be met by the inspirational words of Manny G ‘well done fat boy’ were the words of welcome I received ….doesn’t get better than that from motivational speakers.
Manny won in 33mins 24 secs …..don’t know who was next or was first lady etc …..I finished in 40 mins 43 secs, George was just over 43 mins, Jo was a couple of minutes behind george and Brenda was just over 53 minutes. Davie D was 41 minutes dead with Trevor Shaw about a minute behind that, Herbie was just behind George, and Trevor’s partner Kate was 56 minutes as she returns from injury. An absolute cracker of a race with only one small icy section and well done to Tom and all his helpers …..plus special mention to Janice, herbie’s wife, who looked after wee Maisie so Brenda could run.